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The Industry Forum Ltd, 20 St Andrew Street, EC4A 3AG, London

Archive - events

Managing the business of the House of Commons

The critical importance of managing the business of the House of Commons is not widely understood. Should Labour win the coming general election, this vital role would likely fall to the current Shadow Leader of the House, Lucy Powell. So, this week Lucy Powell, clearly relishing the prospect, led a wide-ranging Industry Forum roundtable on […]

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Strengthening the SME sector

The SME sector is a big employer and the source of much innovation. It is widely acknowledged that a stronger UK SME sector would benefit the economy as a whole, in much the same way that the strong German Mittelstand sector helps the German economy and complements major German companies. But there is little agreement […]

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Tackling our immigration issues

‘Tackling our immigration issues’ was the topic of the recent Industry Forum expert roundtable led by Stephen Kinnock MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration. The meeting was sponsored by Lowick a leading reputation management and public affairs consultancy closely aligned with Labour. Kevin McKeever the founder and managing director of Lowick welcomed guests to their new […]

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Fallout from the HS2 cancellations

It is now over six months since the government’s surprise, and to many unwelcome, decision to scrap the planned HS2 extensions north and east of Birmingham. At the time, it was unclear whether the collection of replacement schemes announced would address the gaps left and form part of a coherent rail strategy. Also uncertain were […]

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Industry Forum Business Reception

UK prosperity and our standing in the world depend heavily on economic success which, in turn, depends a lot on our success in harnessing digital technology. We are therefore delighted that our House of Commons Business Reception this year will be sponsored by two leading international digital sector companies Workday and Vodafone. The keynote speaker […]

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Reforming the Civil Service for the 21st Century

Joining us for an Industry Forum roundtable hosted by Workday, in March, the Rt Hon Lord Maude of Horsham, argued that addressing Civil Service governance and accountability shortcomings should be a top priority for the new, post general election, UK Government. From his government commissioned ‘Independent Review of the Governance and Accountability of the Civil […]

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Key issues for UK road transport

The climate crisis, the pandemic, the economic crisis, and new technologies are all transforming requirements for UK public and private transport. Furthermore, the cancellation of the Manchester leg of HS2 and underfunding of road maintenance have made road transport a central issue for UK business, and society as a whole. There is an urgent need […]

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Policy priorities for the water sector

Climate change is having a profound impact on the water sector. It is raising costs and causing wider concerns for businesses and householders alike. Water supplies, flood planning and water pollution are all examples of matters that require long-term planning and investment. Ruth Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Environmental Protection will lead a roundtable to […]

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Improving government performance in procurement and value for money

The government, and particularly the Treasury, prioritises budgetary control but too often, once initial contracts have been awarded, costs escalate without adequate cost or quality control. One cause may be that civil service cuts have left departments without the skills and experience needed to deal with private sector suppliers. Whatever the cause, however, it is […]

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Delivering a circular economy

Part of the 'Getting the UK moving again' series of workshops For many practical and intuitive reasons, the goal of a circular economy has gained traction but is hard to deliver. Such a project needs to be achieved in steps and each step depends on a range of technologies as well as a suitable policy […]

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Industry Forum 30th Anniversary Reception

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Industry Forum we are holding an evening reception at the House of Commons hosted by Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Industry, and sponsored by Workday. Speakers: Rod Dowler, Executive Chair, Industry Forum (Chair) Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Industry James Johns, Head […]

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Getting serious about saving energy in housing

The UK has some 28 million homes most of which are notoriously energy inefficient. This means that we waste money on increasingly expensive fossil fuels and add to carbon emissions unnecessarily. While we gradually transition to renewable energy, there is, thus, an urgent need to make all our homes, not just new-build homes, more energy […]

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Adjusting to new defence procurement priorities

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shattered complacency about peace on the European continent. It has brought defence procurement to the top of the agenda as nations scramble to give urgent help to Ukraine, and also bolster their own defences. So, the Industry Forum invited Chris Evans MP, Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement, to lead […]

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Real solutions to UK housing problems

As the government focuses on its five core missions, it is clear that long-term problems remain in the provision of adequate housing in the UK. The volume and quality of new housing vary sharply across the country and there are problems in the rented sector, and the provision of social housing. Together, these cause serious […]

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Building the NHS of the Future

The NHS is probably the most loved institution in the UK. It has cared for the country through many health crises. But, like most 75 year olds, it has also reached an age where it needs more care itself. Time and budget pressures mean that it usually, only gets short term fixes. This policy roundtable […]

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Delivering Green Power by 2030

To address the climate emergency, the Labour party, in its industrial strategy ‘Prosperity Through Partnership,’ has announced an ambitious mission to deliver clean power by 2030. Achieving the decarbonisation of electricity will involve a range of renewable energy sources, deploying energy storage infrastructure, and improving the grid network for smart energy collection and supply. It […]

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Can higher education help solve the UK productivity problem?

Recently, Shadow Further Education and Universities Minister, Matt Western MP, led a spirited Industry Forum roundtable on whether higher education can help solve the UK productivity problem which has persisted since 2008. The meeting was hosted by Workday, the major US cloud-based people management software company, at its UK head office, in the City of […]

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The future direction of Labour policies

With intense interest from business in the industrial and economic policies of the Labour party already apparent, the Industry Forum kicked off 2023 with a broad look at the ‘Future direction of Labour Policies,' covering social, health, industrial relations policies, the treatment of women and minorities, and our relationship with the EU. Anneliese Dodds MP, […]

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Boosting UK international trade

UK international trade is suffering badly from Brexit, the pandemic, the Ukraine/Russia war, supply chain problems and inflation. So, the Industry Forum invited Shadow International Trade Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds to lead a roundtable on ‘Boosting UK international trade’. The meeting was in the City offices of @Workday the fast-growing, US enterprise software company. @James Johns, […]

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What is the UK role in the Asia-Pacific region?

Much is happening in the Asia-Pacific region upon which, the UK government is increasingly focused for new diplomatic and trade opportunities. This may mean new trade deals, a more complex relationship with China, new defence alliances like AUKUS, and strengthening relationships with the administrations in Australia and New Zealand. It is not, however, clear what […]

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Events for the Autumn - Details published on -

These are the topics under consideration: Does London have a dirty money problem? Financing economic recovery Building a new, positive relationship with Europe Implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for UK defence industries Where are the real new UK trade opportunities? Prospects for supply chain stabilisation

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Can physics supercharge the UK economy?

The answer to the question ’Can physics supercharge the UK economy?’ discussed this week at an Industry Forum roundtable hosted by the Institute of Physics, was always a foregone conclusion. But physicists, also like to know how theory will be turned into practice. So the ideal person to lead the discussion was Chi Onwurah MP, […]

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Prospects and pitfalls for green hydrogen

Only one element has the potential to liberate the world from global warming and the grip of the petrostates - green hydrogen. To achieve this, however, big technical, policy and investment hurdles need to be overcome. So, yesterday the Industry Forum launched the first of a series of meetings on this subject with an expert […]

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Valuing and sustaining the NHS

Leading from the front is what is needed in a pandemic, and this is the speciality of career A&E doctor and politician, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health. In June, she led the first ever Industry Forum expert round table on the key issue of ‘Valuing and sustaining the NHS’, which […]

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Helping UK Energy-Intensive Industries

Vital UK Energy-Intensive industries such as steel, cement, and ceramics face multiple crises: The Ukraine/Russia war has caused a spike in fossil fuel prices that threatens their viability; the need to transition to carbon neutral energy requires large investments in research, and transition, and, there is no overall plan to address these problems. The Industry […]

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Opportunities for International Trade in 2022

Success in international trade will be the key factor in determining whether the UK economy adjusts successfully to operating outside of the EU and navigating the turbulence caused by the Covid pandemic, and the Ukraine/Russia war. So, we were delighted, this week, that Andrew Mitchell, Director General, Exports and Trade, at the Department for International […]

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Seasons greetings for the holidays and 2022

•  How has Brexit benefited UK international trade? •  The business case for the green transition •  Levelling up means building more high quality homes •  Realising the potential of green hydrogen •  Building a new relationship with Europe •  Addressing the dementia pandemic •  Valuing and paying for the NHS •  Would PR be […]

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UK economic prospects for 2022 and beyond

The UK could escape suffering the worst Covid 19 hit among the G7 nations, as predicted by the IMF, but it would require some deft policymaking to focus Bank of England and Government actions on targeting growth and implementing a coherent strategy for structural change. This was the broad conclusion of Andrew Smith, Chief Economic […]

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Policy implications of Quantum Computing

The vast scale of the potential changes and opportunities presented by quantum computing were outlined today at an Industry Forum virtual roundtable on ‘The Policy Implications of Quantum Computing’. Leading the discussion was Ilias Khan, CEO of Cambridge Quantum Computing, who highlighted the intense interest from countries such as Germany, China and the US, the […]

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Can the UK become a new medicines powerhouse?

The UK response to the COVID pandemic has established our global reputation as a scientific leader in life sciences. Key to this success has been the collaborative approach between the scientific community, the pharmaceutical industry, and the NHS.  The recently published Life Sciences Vision sets out how the Government intends to build on this to […]

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Expanding US/UK trade and commerce

Following the departure of the UK from the European Union, and the advent of a new US administration there are opportunities to expand and deepen trade and commerce between the two nations. Rosemary Gallant, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US London Embassy will lead the discussion. Respondents include: Matt Houlihan, Senior Director, Government […]

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How can we create a UK manufacturing renaissance?

Supply problems during the pandemic have exposed the risks of depending on just-in-time supply from foreign manufacturers. Furthermore, heightened security concerns are making western governments opposed to the use of some Chinese technology products in vital infrastructure. There is thus a need and an opportunity to expand UK manufacturing to address these newly apparent risks […]

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Key issues for pensions and benefits during the recovery from the pandemic

The Covid 19 crisis has dominated thinking and planning for the past year but now, as the dangers are apparently receding, old issues about pensions and benefits are re-emerging and some now ones have appeared. The Department for Work and Pensions needs to prepare for the changes in the world of work that have been […]

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Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance - Will it work?

Post-Brexit, the UK relies more than ever on its reputation for good corporate governance and sound financial auditing, but, over the last decade, a string of corporate failures and auditing scandals has undermined that reputation. The government has recently published a consultation paper on ‘Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance.’ This responds to three […]

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Issues and priorities for UK defence

The UK faces a fast-changing defence landscape at time when new threats and new technologies require that we focus closely on key priorities, work closely with allies, and provide the appropriate resources for our armed services. The recently published government ‘Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’ is a widely scoped prospectus which […]

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Infrastructure projects could lead the economic recovery from the pandemic

Most business people see that the pandemic has caused serious damage to some important sectors like hospitality and aviation. Furthermore, it is clear that we need to expand other sectors such as renewable energy, construction and digital infrastructure to address climate change and preserve employment and prosperity levels. They are less clear about government strategy […]

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Paying for the pandemic

Is rapidly paying back pandemic borrowings an economic priority or a political red herring? This was an underlying question when Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and leading economists Andrew Smith and Josh Ryan-Collins discussed ‘Paying for the the Pandemic’ at a recent Industry Forum virtual round table. Government decisions on borrowings, taxes […]

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A post-pandemic transport transformation?

We had the transport ‘A team’ at an Industry Forum virtual roundtable on, ‘A Post-covid transport transformation?’. Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Jim McMahon MP, kicked off the event. Sector speakers were Andy Bagnall, Director General at the Rail Delivery Group; Katy Taylor, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer, Go-Ahead bus group; Nigel Milton, Director […]

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An integrated approach to pensions and benefits in recovering from the pandemic

The pandemic has transformed levels of state support for personal incomes and benefits, and highlighted some current and past shortcomings in such support. Key questions now relate to the withdrawal of emergency support and the need for for a future, more rational, and perhaps more generous approach to pensions and benefits. To explore such issues, […]

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Implications of the new UK National Security and Investment Bill

Shadow Foreign Office Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Kinnock MP, today led a wide-ranging Industry Forum panel discussion on ‘The implications of the new National Security and Investment Bill’. The other speakers were David Offenbach, Legal Consultant at Simons Muirhead & Burton, LLP; Creon Butler, Director of the Global Economy and Finance Programme, […]

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Opportunities and issues for post Brexit international trade

The Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, led an Industry Forum discussion on ‘Opportunities and issues for post Brexit international trade’. In the context of health, climate, and economic emergencies, and the advent of a new US administration, the meeting, held under the Chatham House rule, focused on the […]

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The key role of housing in recovery from the pandemic

The Covid 19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on some business sectors such as leisure, travel, and commercial property. Residential building and construction has, however, largely kept going, house prices have not so far collapsed, and working from home has increased awareness of the need for adequate accommodation. Neither a home office, nor a […]

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Getting higher education right for the 21st Century

As pandemic restrictions continue they are increasing the number of issues affecting all aspects of higher education, vocational, and skills training. Students are facing stress over exam grading assessments, remote working, and problems in transitioning to work in the difficult labour market. Equally employers, under stress themselves, need to recruit from a pool of young […]

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Post Brexit threats to EU-UK data flows

Much discussion of Brexit has focused on increased friction for physical goods. The UK, however, does much, profitable services trade with the EU, underpinned by data flows. This is particularly significant for the UK financial services and technology sectors. While the UK was a member of the EU, EU-UK data flows were uninhibited, and the […]

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Shaping our digital future

The pandemic has led to an amazing transformation in our use and appreciation of the benefits of digital technologies. New possibilities abound in, for example, education, work, manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare, and these could recharge our damaged economy and provide fresh opportunities for people whose jobs have disappeared. The Labour party is keen to develop […]

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How should business contribute to equality and diversity?

For over half a century, it has been widely (and conveniently) assumed that deep-rooted social problems of inequality and lack of diversity could be largely decoupled from economic and business policies and actions. 21st century crises, notably the 2008 banking crash, and the on-going corona virus pandemic, have however pushed these issues to centre-stage. To […]

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Lessons on managing procurement and supply chains in an emergency

We will never know the full cost in lives and money of the procurement problems that arose in the UK during the initial wave of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is clear, however, that multiple shortcomings in PPE and intensive care equipment procurement and supply chain management occurred. As Covid 19 has not disappeared, it […]

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The urgent challenge of UK Digital Inequality

After a decade in which the dark side of big tech came sharply into focus, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically demonstrated positive and empowering aspects of digital technology. It is not an exaggeration to say that education, the world of work, and healthcare are being transformed. It has also shown that some people and […]

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A successful business recovery strategy for the UK

Darren Jones MP, new Chair of the cross-party UK Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee led a wide-ranging Industry Forum discussion on ‘ A successful business recovery strategy for the UK’. The meeting was hosted online by leading law firm, Pinsent Masons, who were represented by Yvonne Dunn, the partner who leads the Pinsent […]

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Prospects for future US/UK trade

The Industry Forum was delighted that Rosemary Gallant, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US London Embassy could lead our online roundtable on future US/UK trade prospects. She outlined the US objectives and progress to date in the current trade talks. The meeting was hosted online by KPMG UK who were represented by Bina […]

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Achieving a strong, agile economic recovery

Powerful messages emerged from a June Industry Forum online roundtable discussing ‘Achieving a strong and agile economic recovery’. Shadow Digital, Science and Technology Minister Chi Onwura MP, a qualified engineer with wide industry and regulatory experience, kicked off the meeting which was hosted online by the Mineral Products Association (MPA). She was followed by Andrew […]

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City in transition

  For more information on this event

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Incentivising life sciences innovation

It’s not just children who are home schooling and learning new lessons in this pandemic! Many of us, locked down in our homes, are learning to take nothing for granted. Already we know that there will be no V-shaped recovery and that yesterday's threatening digital technologies are now saving lives by enabling (some of us) […]

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The road to zero emissions

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the powerful Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, delivered the closing keynote address at the ‘Road to Zero’ conference held in the German Embassy. Leading industry players from the UK and Germany and Baroness Brown, Deputy Chair of the Climate Change Committee, also spoke to the capacity audience. A […]

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Prospects and challenges for 2020

A stimulating first Industry Forum meeting of 2020 addressed the impossibly broad agenda of Prospects and Challenges for 2020 at FleishmanHillard this week. Andrew Smith, Economist, led on the UK economic outlook  and steps to an EU trade deal, followed by Bim Ofolami MP on possibilities for transformation of the UK’s trade and industry. Matt […]

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Increasing and profiting more from UK R&D

The UK has an enviable science and technology heritage and track record. Despite this, we invest less than most other advanced countries in R&D and frequently fail to gain the commercial benefits of our scientific discoveries. This situation has been made worse by a decade of slow growth and the multiple uncertainties caused by Brexit. […]

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A long term approach to UK housing problems

Delivering a master class in understanding the complex issues of housing, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Rt. Hon. John Healey MP, led a lunchtime Industry Forum briefing this week at the City HQ of NHBC. Topics covered included the benefits of a more proactive government approach and an overarching framework for housing planning, greater […]

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Solid steps to improve UK productivity

Bringing a refreshing can-do approach to financial issues, Shadow Treasury Minister, Dr Anneliese Dodds MP, led a comprehensive Industry Forum breakfast briefing on Labour party plans for tackling long-standing UK productivity problems. Actions on investment, skills, and regional imbalances are essential but so too is a change in Treasury attitudes to a balanced dialogue with […]

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Labour Business reception

Join members of the Shadow Treasury and BEIS teams for an evening reception at the Labour Party conference. For more information on this event

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The need for consensus on vital infrastructure projects

A modern economy needs a good physical and digital infrastructure to support business, education, leisure and social services. But, infrastructure projects usually require long term planning and investment. Policy uncertainty, policy changes and priority changes can therefore all lead to lack of action or the waste of effort and resources on cancelled or modified projects. […]

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Radical approaches to improving UK skills

After a decade of poor economic performance, with fast growing international competitors, and massive disruption by new technologies, the UK urgently needs to upgrade its skills base. Possible changes could involve the greater use of computer-based learning and skills acquisition, increased educational emphasis on technological education, and increased availability of lifelong training and retraining schemes. […]

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Key issues for the Home Affairs Select Committee

In brilliant form, Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee, led an Industry Forum briefing at the Bankside offices of FleishmanHillard Fishburn. With great precision, she unravelled the complexities of the Brexit negotiations, the problems of the rigid red lines, the difficult parliamentary arithmetic, and how her cross-party committee […]

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Labour’s plans for investment in science & technology

Over a long term, companies and industries based on science and technology have contributed strongly to economic growth and the quality of life. For such reasons there is a growing consensus that significantly increasing the current relatively low level of UK investment in science and technology is a good way to address the economic challenges […]

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Restoring trust in digital tech

The explosive growth in use of the Internet and the World Wide Web began in the 1990s and saw the rapid establishment of what are now tech titans such Google, Facebook and Amazon as well as the further dramatic expansion of existing tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft. Regulators and legislators were initially sanguine […]

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Transitioning to a green economy

The potential benefits of transitioning to a green economy are extensive. For example, adopting renewable energy would reduce dangerous local air pollution and reduce climate-changing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases. The transition would require coordinated planning and Treasury support. It would form a major part of a UK industrial strategy creating many jobs […]

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An innovation-led economy

The burgeoning technology sector is now vying with finance to be the most profitable business sector. As the digital wave moves on, it is transforming media, entertainment, communications, logistics, and now threatens to disrupt manufacturing, retail, logistics, transportation and more. In the UK we know that our future prosperity in a post-Brexit world will depend […]

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Is the patent system still the best way to encourage innovation?

The patent system is designed to reward innovation by protecting the innovator from competition in exchange for making details of the innovation public. This has generally worked well to foster innovation but there are a growing number of criticisms of the system, including that it is not flexible enough to provide adequate protection for the […]

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Making 2019 a great year for London business

London is a preeminent international city with a vibrant economy that recovered well from the 2008 banking crisis. The city is prosperous and the population diverse and they voted strongly to remain in the European Union. Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, London is likely to remain successful, but the necessary adjustments and problems […]

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Focusing investment to boost the economy

The aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis followed by Brexit uncertainty have hampered UK economic activity for a decade during which productivity and real wage growth have stalled and the gap between the prosperity of London and the southeast, and the rest of the country, has grown. Labour’s plans to reinvigorate the economy include a […]

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Realising the potential of renewable energy

The dominance of hydrocarbons as an energy source is coming to an end. There are increasingly good ways to capture renewable energy from unlimited natural sources such as solar radiation, wind, and geothermal rocks. But realising the full potential of this development requires an immense change to the UK and world energy infrastructure. Dr Alan […]

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Key issues for the Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee is outspoken and hyperactive. It has a long list of current inquiries including the interface between health and social care, Universal Credit, the Brexit financial settlement, the performance of HMRC, the collapse of Carillion and many more. Come and hear Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the committee outline and discuss the […]

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Post Brexit trade prospects for Scotland

At the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the UK against the policy of the ruling SNP party. At the 2016 EU referendum, in which the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, Scotland voted to remain. Although the UK is Scotland’s largest trade partner, Scotland has important trade and […]

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Building an Innovation State

The prosperity of the modern world has been built on innovation and trade. Whatever happens about Brexit, it is certain that the UK will need to compete and innovate as never before. None of the leading world economic powers leaves their industrial success to plain vanilla financial and economic policies. The UK Department of Business, […]

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Owning our future relationship with Europe

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations with the EU, and within the Westminster political parties, the mainland countries of Europe will forever remain the closest neighbours of the UK. It is thus in the overwhelming interest of all concerned that our future mutual relationships should be as cooperative and fruitful as possible. Our expert […]

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A transforming strategy for SMEs

Small and medium sized enterprises have a low profile but a vital role in the UK economy providing employment, training, innovation and flexibility in times of change. Their health and vitality will be essential during the challenging Brexit transition and this means that they will need all the help a government can provide in terms […]

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Labour Business Reception

The party conferences promise to be exceptionally interesting this year. At Labour’s Liverpool conference, the Industry Forum will be co-hosting, with Labour Business and FleishmanHillard Fisburn, a business reception for the Shadow Treasury and BEIS teams. Should be a great chance to meet the shadow ministers and catch up on the latest Labour thinking on […]

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Key issues for UK transport

There are many issues currently facing the UK concerning transport. These relate to rail ownership and electrification, outsourcing risks in the light of the Carillion collapse, the expansion of Heathrow, the transition to renewable energy for road vehicles, the balance of regional investment in transport infrastructure, air pollution, and measures to encourage and safeguard cycling. […]

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Why the time is right to licence builders

The UK construction industry has much about which to be proud but its image continues to be damaged by media stories of incompetent builders, dissatisfied buyers of new build homes and, recently, the serious questions raised by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower […]

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Safeguarding UK international trade through Brexit

Many business people are concerned about the unclear objectives and challenging timetable of the current Brexit negotiations. Uncertainty about future trading arrangements with the EU, and the speed with which trade with non-EU countries can realistically be increased, affect planning for investment and staff recruitment and deployment. If transition does not happen in a timely […]

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Business implications of the changing foreign affairs landscape

The full implications for the UK of Brexit and the Trump era are not yet clear. How issues of our future relationships with the European Union, the United States, China, India and other nations are resolved will have a bearing on our ability to make beneficial and timely trade arrangements. This has great significance for […]

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Brexit and the European Medicines Agency: What could possibly go wrong?

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is making preparations to ensure that it can continue to protect public and animal health in the EU after the UK leaves on 30 March 2019. One of the consequences of Brexit is that the EMA will relocate to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where it plans to be operational by […]

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Overseeing the business and cultural impact of the digital transition

Public and political awareness of the impact of digital technologies has recently reached new peaks. Key concerns include internet security, child safety, political manipulation, fake news, and industry disruption in the media and entertainment sectors. In addition, business and the public are anxious for the UK to get the enabling benefits of fast broadband and […]

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An effective UK defence policy for a changing world

UK defence policy has ambitious aims but these are causing severe and currently unresolved budgetary problems. In addition Brexit uncertainty and a fluid international situation is increasing concerns about the risks of defence overstretch, the benefits of our deterrence policy, and the sustainability of our policies for the procurement of defence equipment. Even more fundamentally, […]

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Growing UK trade

Deadlines are looming to keep UK international trade and the UK economy stable during the Brexit process. It may be tricky to ensure that any losses of EU trade across many sectors are adequately and promptly balanced or, hopefully, exceeded by gains elsewhere. Angus MacNeil will discuss how things stand in May 2018 as talks […]

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Realising the full potential of UK computer science

Artificial intelligence and multiple other computer science developments are transforming life in the 21st Century. Oxford University already ranks highly amongst the top universities teaching and researching computer science, and is now committed to a major expansion of this work. This offers significant potential benefits for the university and also for the whole economy of […]

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Financing infrastructure for growth

Since the financial crisis, infrastructure investment has been squeezed in the interest of deficit reduction. It is now widely accepted that the UK needs an industrial strategy that provides significant investment in housing, transport, energy, and digital infrastructure to improve productivity, reduce regional imbalances and raise real wages. Jonathan Reynolds has a business background. In […]

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Looking after the trade interests of SMEs

International trade is extremely complex. At present any company attempting to forecast future sales needs to factor in uncertainty affecting future business risks linked to EU membership and also potential opportunities linked to other international markets. These issues do not just affect companies involved in directly exporting but also subcontractors who may be affected by […]

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Financing a better future

Recent economic policies, especially the focus on austerity, have not stimulated the investment in infrastructure and skills needed to increase productivity and real wages. Labour has identified the need to change course and has proposed an approach involving a new National Investment Bank and the clearer differentiation between investment spending and current expenditure. Anneliese Dodds […]

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A successful industrial strategy for the UK

Political opinion and current economic theory have for several decades opposed government leadership in the development of industrial strategy. This appeared to change after the Brexit vote and with the formation of the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Now business and politicians appear united on the need for a UK industrial strategy to […]

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Urgent housing issues

There is a cross-party consensus that problems in the housing market, including supply shortages, have not been effectively addressed for a long time. This has tremendous social consequences as well as significant economic effects. It also raises issues of planning, finance and regulation, and the Grenfell Tower tragedy illustrates what can go wrong. These matters […]

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Key questions for UK science and technology

Many businesses are concerned that the UK needs a really strong focus on science, technology and innovation as part of our industrial strategy. This is particularly important while we grapple with the problems and uncertaintities arising from Brexit. Protecting the strong UK science base, safeguarding individuals and society, maintaining high quality research, and maximizing international […]

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A successful transformation for City financial and professional services

It is no exaggeration to say that many in the City and the wider UK economy are concerned about the regulatory and competitive disruption that the Brexit process may cause. Like the rest of the economy however, the financial community is determined to adapt and thrive. To do this it is essential to nail down […]

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Labour Conference Business Reception

During the recent general election Labour’s economic and business policies marked a distinctive break from recent Conservative, Coalition and New Labour policies. Come and hear about Labour’s approach to macro-economic policy and industrial strategy from key members of the shadow Treasury and BEIS teams led by John McDonnell and Rebecca Long Bailey. Chair: Hamish Sandison, […]

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International trade issues

International trade has been high on the agenda ever since George Osborne announced the ambitious target to cut the UK trade deficit by increasing export trade to 1trillion pounds by 2020. If anything, Brexit has made such an objective more urgent but not necessarily easier. Catherine West MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, is joining […]

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Brexit and the future of global trade

In this seminar the expert panellists will consider the implications for global trade over the next two years of the Brexit negotiations and a possible Brexit at the end of them. They will also place European trade in the context of global trade, which is subject to a number of growing uncertainties. A particular theme […]

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Hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? No Brexit?

The minority Conservative government’s Brexit policy is in chaos. The Prime Minister’s personal position is fragile; Ministers contradict each other publicly; and the traditional supporters of the Conservative party in the City and business become daily more vocal about their unease. Against this turbulent background, our panel of experts will consider the real options open to […]

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The aims of the Industrial Strategy Commission

After a painfully slow recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, and in the wake of the Brexit vote, UK businesses and policymakers recognise that the UK urgently needs new economic thinking and practices. Last year, the new Conservative administration established the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department and has recently launched a green paper entitled […]

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Consequences of a hard Brexit

This event will be the launch of a new report by Dr. Andrew Black of the Global Policy Institute looking at the possible consequences of a hard Brexit, following the failure of Article 50 negotiations between Great Britain and the European Union. Through his detailed analysis, Dr. Black has attempted to fill the gap in […]

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The City and Brexit – British and German perspectives

It has already become clear that the question of financial and related services will form a separate and substantial component of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union triggered by the invocation of Article 50. This discussion will be considering the negotiating positions of the two parties, the strengths and weaknesses of these […]

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Defence implications of Brexit and the change of US administration

Brexit and the change of the US administration could have significant implications for UK defence policies. Since the second world war, NATO has been a cornerstone of UK and European defence policies. Since the Brexit vote there has been speculation  that the remaining 27 EU members might decide on closer defence cooperation to enable the […]

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Labour priorities for an industrial strategy

Since the Brexit vote there has been an increase in the number of policy-makers and economists advocating that the UK should develop an industrial strategy to meet the major economic challenges now facing us. These challenges include reducing the trade deficit, increasing skills and productivity to provide more high value and highly paid jobs, investing […]

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Brexit - Did the economists get it wrong?

During the EU referendum campaign in 2016 many economists predicted disastrous economic consequences in case of a “Leave” vote. However, the current economic climate is far from this scenario. Were the economic models used at the time wrong? Were the predictions wrong or will they still take effect with delay? These will be among the […]

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Building more new homes each year

Fixing the UK’s housing problems is challenging: Should London be treated as a special case? Would greater devolution of housing powers help better address the characteristics of each local market? What needs to be done to free up availability of land? The new government white paper is the first attempt at a comprehensive rethink on […]

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Economic prospects for the UK and the EU in 2017

After the trauma of the Brexit vote and with a new American administration on the scene, businesses in the UK and the EU face a changed set of challenges and opportunities. Andrew Smith, formerly Chief Economist at KPMG, will give a detailed analysis of the overall economic landscape and its implications for the UK. Andrew […]

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An industrial strategy for construction

Providing the UK with a steady supply of housing in the right numbers and right proportions has proved to be an almost intractable problem over the past 20 to 30 years. The cross-party APPG for Housing and Planning was set up to really get to the heart of these housing challenges. Last year, with the […]

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Meeting the international trade challenge

For a long time, Britain has had a significant international trade deficit that successive governments have tried to reduce. The Brexit vote has increased the urgency for the country to gear up to increase international trade and vigorously address non-EU markets. Edward Barker, Director, Trade Strategy & Capability at Department for International Trade who works […]

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Financing for growth

Following the surprise EU referendum outcome, the change in government leadership, and the sharp drop in growth forecasts, policy-makers and economists are discussing the need for investment-led growth and a more ambitious industrial strategy. Come and hear Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, respond to the Chancellor’s  Autumn Statement and outline […]

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Britain and the EU - Difficult questions after the EU referendum

This conference will discuss the present realities and future challenges arising from the referendum on 23rd June. Leading academics, politicians and commentators will be discussing such issues as freedom of movement, the triggering of Article 50, and the possibility of a “hard” Brexit. The programme is below and you can also see further details and […]

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Boosting UK exports and attracting foreign investments

Tackling the UK trade deficit by increasing UK exports has been a vital and long-term goal of the government ever since, in 2012, Chancellor George Osborne set a target of £1 trillion for exports by 2020. The All-Party Parliamentary Trade and Investment Group has been active in raising awareness of this aim and bringing business […]

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Transport developments: the business impact

After more than a century of relatively static models of terrestrial transport, rapid changes are occurring. Driverless vehicles, low carbon propulsion and high-speed rail are now concrete projects that will become reality in the near future. For the consumer these developments are stitched together by the use of smart phones and the Internet. There are […]

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Improving transport will help the economy

Good transport is essential to the smooth and efficient operation of the UK economy. In particular, the country needs increased airport capacity in South East England, increased rail capacity and to tackle the pollution caused by some types of fuel. For a number of reasons, decisions and investment in such areas have been slow. Minister of […]

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Conclusions of the CMA Retail Banking Market Investigation

Starting in November 2014 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority, has been carrying out an investigation of the issues hindering competition in personal current accounts (PCA) and in banking services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Provisional findings and recommendations were published in May 2016 and, after receiving […]

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The role of the City Minister

Given the importance of the City to the UK economy, it has become the custom that the Economic Secretary to the Treasury should also take the title of the ‘City Minister’. Richard Burgon MP has this role in John McDonnell’s shadow Treasury team which was described at a recent conference as ‘simply fizzing with new […]

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Addressing the key issues and decisions for transport

Despite the recent restoration of growth in the UK economy, major economic issues remain in terms of low relative productivity and costs, delays and inconvenience arising from transport systems. Each of these can be addressed, at least in part, by modernising transport infrastructure such as  airports, roads and railways. The Transport Select Committee has a […]

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The role of the Treasury

The Kerslake Review The Treasury is a uniquely powerful government department, making the major spending decisions for the whole of the British state, while directing and overseeing plans for the country’s economy. The aim of this review, which has been commissioned by the Shadow Chancellor, is to bring together evidence on whether the current role […]

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Getting pensions policies right

Pension policies are of critical importance to individuals and employing organisations alike. Their effects are long-lasting and they are significantly affected by changing economic conditions, central bank policies and increasing longevity. The government has made changes to the basic pension, the retirement age, incentives for saving, and access to pension savings. Nevertheless, few young people […]

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Making the most of UK Business, Innovation and Skills

The UK has a strong portfolio of industries, businesses, innovative talent, and professional and vocational skills. Nevertheless the country has not always been able to apply these strengths to increase its competitiveness, increase real wages and reduce the stubbornly high trade deficit. Modern thinking on industrial strategy is a far cry from detailed central planning […]

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Achieving the best outcome from the EU negotiations

EU membership is a contentious issue in the UK and, with the aim of resolving the matter, the Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced ‘a stay or leave’ referendum to take place on 23 June 2016. This is on the back of a deal that the Prime Minister negotiated with the other EU member states […]

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Priorities for UK energy and climate change

Energy and climate change are two of the most important issues affecting the UK economy. It is no exaggeration to say that our economy is built upon energy that comes mainly from carbon-based fuels, but the emissions from these fuels are causing temperature increases in the environment that cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. Making […]

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Britain and the EU: Difficult Questions

The relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union is entering a new and possibly decisive chapter. The UK is seeking a new settlement with its European partners through renegotiation, and will put the result to a public vote, asking in a referendum whether to stay in the European Union or to leave. This […]

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Public expenditure and economic growth

The 2010 Coalition government and the current Conservative government have pursued policies to reduce the current account deficit, cut taxation and shrink the size of the state. So far these policies have been successful in restoring a measure of growth but have not yet rebalanced the economy and increased productivity, and they have not stimulated […]

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Economic prospects for the UK and the EU

At the start of 2016, the UK economy is facing multiple uncertainties. The largest of these is our future relationship with the EU that will be determined by referendum. Other major external factors include the slowing Chinese economy, the plummeting oil price, the recent US interest rate increase, developments in the Eurozone, and the associated […]

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The SNP approach to trade and investment

The Scottish economy is heavily dependent on energy and finance and also benefits from a skilled population and world class education system. Politically the Scottish Parliament is dominated by the SNP who now also have a strong cohort of MPs in Westminster.  The SNP is on record as opposing austerity as a route back to […]

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Privacy versus security
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Can Whitehall be more business-like?
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A long-term strategy for energy
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Immigration and business: time to sync?
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A vision for London
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Is Europe falling behind in technology?
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Growing the real EU economy
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Can devolution unleash growth?
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Building the northern powerhouse
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UK and European Security are indivisible
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The issues facing the NHS
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Increasing trade between East and West

A key priority for the Government is rebalancing the UK economy so that growth in the manufacturing sector can match that of the services sector. Increasing our exports to the fast-growing emerging markets in the East is a key goal. Achieving this requires top-level government support, industry focus and continuing dialogue with countries and companies […]

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UK and EU priorities for business, innovation and skills

Since the 2008 banking crisis, economic growth in both the UK and the EU has been lacklustre. Great efforts have been made to restrain spending by governments and the behaviour of the financial sector but measures to encourage growth in the real economy have been piecemeal and half-hearted. Iain Wright will outline the views of […]

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The challenges facing legacy banks

Seven years after the banking crisis, the UK banking sector still faces challenges. Technology failures indicate that core systems are fragile; the RBS share price is still well below the price paid by the government, banks are complaining about the cost of ring-fencing and some are considering relocation out of the country. Above all it […]

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The importance of science and technology for the UK

Science and technology are key determinants of prosperity and growth but the impact and benefits of specific government policies are often hard to ascertain. What is clear is that high quality STEM education and government -funded research provide the foundations on which technology industries are built and flourish. In a time of severe budgetary constraints, […]

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Why we should say "Yes" to Europe

EU membership is a contentious topic in the UK where many of the electorate cherish the idea of proud independence, and where the press is largely eurosceptic. Nevertheless, there is strong support for EU membership from many sections of business, the unions, and the general population, especially young people. Labour party policy has been to […]

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Completing the Single Market

This was a panel discussion held with the Federal Trust.  The speakers were: Dr Stephan Hesselmann, Senior Expert on Economic Issues, CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group Catherine Stewart, Senior Advisor, Interel Rod Dowler, Chairman, Industry Forum

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The Ins and the Outs of the Eurozone

This was a panel discussion held with the Federal Trust which examined how future relationships in the EU between the Eurozone and non-members of the Eurozone will be managed, in particular in the light of David Cameron’s current renegotiation agenda and the pending British referendum on EU membership. Speakers: John Cooke, The CityUK Graham Bishop, Consultant […]

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Ensuring that the UK can lead in a digital world

Technological change is occurring at an exceptional rate  within a world-wide digital architecture. This represents a big opportunity for the UK but failure to grasp the opportunity might see our economy relegated to 'branch status' in the world economy. The House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills published a detailed report in February 2015 […]

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Briefing on economic prospects for the UK

The general election result will resolve the policy framework of the next administration, but the course of UK economy will be largely determined by external factors including the slowing Chinese economy, the resurgent US economy, developments in the Eurozone, and the associated macroeconomic policies of the main players. Andrew Smith, formerly Chief Economist at KPMG, […]

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Addressing concerns about standards in public life

Numerous polls show that public trust in politicians and business is low. Key issues undermining trust in individuals has been a succession of exposures of poor behaviour concerning expenses and trading influence for cash. The public also have a strong views that business lobbying is pervasive and not in the public interest. Such distrust is […]

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